How Juror Tom Hanks Got Guy a Reduced Charge

Whoops: Lawyer spoke to actor serving jury duty
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2013 10:27 AM CDT
Updated Sep 12, 2013 9:46 AM CDT
Tom Hanks' Real-Life Role: Juror
Actor Tom Hanks presents the Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play award at the 67th Annual Tony Awards, on Sunday, June 9, 2013 in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Tom Hanks was just trying to do his civic duty, and he ended up inadvertently messing up a trial. Hanks was serving on a jury in LA this week, but when a lawyer in the City Attorney's Office made the mistake of talking to the actor, the case had to be settled with a plea deal. The prosecuting attorney revealed the interaction Tuesday and asked for a mistrial based on prosecutorial misconduct, CNN reports. Instead, yesterday, both sides agreed to a reduced charge. The defendant initially faced up to a year in jail on domestic assault charges; the reduced disturbing the peace charge carries with it just a $150 fine.

So what did the lawyer approach Hanks about? He reportedly thanked the actor for his service. TMZ earlier reported that Hanks was either an awesome juror or just acting like one: taking lots of notes, listening closely, talking to the other jurors during the breaks, and laughing at one of the lawyer's jokes. The defense attorney confirms to CNN that, though he was initially skeptical of putting Hanks on the jury, "He never looked or made any statements like he wanted to get off jury duty. So based on everything, he seemed like a very fair juror." How would he have voted? The defense attorney says Hanks simply "looked at me like he always had, smiled and said, 'I was going to vote the way of justice.'" (More Tom Hanks stories.)

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